Google Fiber: These New Paid Interconnection Deals Aren't Needed | DSLReports, ISP Information

On one hand, you have companies like Netflix, Level 3, and countless consumer advocates, who say that the industry's large ISPs are letting their peering links (and therefore your YouTube and Netflix performance) saturate to force content companies into increasingly expensive and anti-competitive paid interconnection deals. On the other hand, you've got the nation's biggest ISPs and a few analysts who work with them proclaiming this is all business as usual and there's "nothing to see here."

What does Google Fiber think about things? In a new Google Fiber team blog post, the company says they don't need to charge content companies for interconnection because they don't need to, and because what Google has found is truly industry "business as usual" involves a little give and take that benefits everyone in the chain:


We give companies like Netflix and Akamai free access to space and power in our facilities and they provide their own content servers. We don’t make money from peering or colocation; since people usually only stream one video at a time, video traffic doesn’t bog down or change the way we manage our network in any meaningful way — so why not help enable it?You'll note that's an immeasurably different tale from what incumbent ISPs and analysts like Dan Rayburn are claiming. For example, compare Google Fiber's explanation with that of AT&T, who claims Netflix is trying to get a "free ride," even if everybody along the chain pays a significant amount for bandwidth and transit already, and paying AT&T customers are the ones requesting and paying for the content. From an AT&T blog post last March:


As we all know, there is no free lunch, and there’s also no cost-free delivery of streaming movies. Someone has to pay that cost. Mr. Hastings’ arrogant proposition is that everyone else should pay but Netflix. That may be a nice deal if he can get it. But it’s not how the Internet, or telecommunication for that matter, has ever worked.Now note the contrast in the explanation of the streaming content ecosystem by Google Fiber director of network engineering Jeffrey Burgan. Burgan points out how offering free colocation and interconnection (joining Netflix's free Open Connect CDN, for example) is just common sense and good business for everybody in the chain:


But we also don’t charge because it’s really a win-win-win situation. It’s good for content providers because they can deliver really high-quality streaming video to their customers. For example, because Netflix colocated their servers along our network, their customers can access full 1080p HD and, for those who own a 4K TV, Netflix in Ultra HD 4K.

It’s good for us because it saves us money (it’s easier to transport video traffic from a local server than it is to transport it thousands of miles). But most importantly, we do this because it gives Fiber users the fastest, most direct route to their content. That way, you can access your favorite shows faster. All-in-all, these arrangements help you experience the best access to content on the Internet — which is the whole point of getting Fiber to begin with!

Again, that's contrasted with AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, who want the public to believe that hitting content companies up for additional money via direct interconnection fees is "how things have always worked." Most people, if they've followed AT&T's efforts to impose unreasonable tolls on content at every possible opportunity for most of the last decade, should have a general idea which side of the aisle the truth falls on with this issue.